HPE chief executive Meg Whitman will step down early next year

Meg Whitman Stepping Down as HP Enterprise CEO

"Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets", Whitman said in a statement tied to this afternoon's news. Whitman's spot will be filled by the company's current President, Antonio Neri.

Still, while Wall Street had been prepared for the succession plan, investors reacted negatively to the news.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2018, the company expects adjusted earnings in the range of 20 cents to 24 cents per share, below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents per share. She remained as CEO at the newly streamlined HPE, prioritizing cloud services and spinning off product and consumer hardware to HP Inc.

Whitman, 61 with a multi-billion dollar net worth, is the only woman to serve as CEO of more than one Fortune 500 company. She also continues to be mentioned as a future political candidate, despite having been handily beaten in the 2010 California gubernatorial election by Jerry Brown.

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She was put down before her seventh birthday after she had developed a progressive lung disease most common in older sheep. There have been claims the process led her to age prematurely and left her vulnerable to diseases linked to ageing.

In another she said: "So let me make this as clear as I can". She is simply going to take a little down time. "It's amusing, some [investors] were concerned about Meg at the start, and now they're concerned about who's going to replace Meg?" "Uber's CEO will not be Meg Whitman".

She said that she will remain as part of the board and added that she will not be running for office. "I don't think she's particularly happy when she's not".

Whitman had been in talks earlier this year to become CEO of Uber, but talks ultimately broke down after word of the discussions got leaked.

Here's an excerpt from my profile of Whitman that explores the possibilities for what she might do next.

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